Making the Most of Turkey Time

God didn’t gift me with the cooking gene. So when a holiday comes that centers around food, things get a little chaotic, and I get a little anxious. Want to laugh with me? Here is what the typical pre-meal activity looks like at my house on Thanksgiving....

7 a.m. Wake up with a groggy smile.

7:10 a.m. Eat a simple breakfast.

7:15 a.m. Put my hair back, push up my sleeves and get my apron on.

7:20 a.m. Realize I’m out of several necessary ingredients.

8:20 a.m. Get back from store. Put my apron back on.

8:30 a.m. Start the process of using every single dish in my kitchen.

9:30 a.m. Burn something (it’s inevitable).

9:31 a.m. Stand on a chair and wave my dish towel frantically at the smoke alarm.

10:00 a.m. DING, DONG. Guests have arrived. Wipe off hands on apron and give hugs.

10:01 a.m. Completely forget I was cooking and have a nice long chat with my visitors.

10:45 a.m. Remember I was cooking and run back to check on things.

11:30 a.m. Pull together the dishes that seem “okay,” cover a few casseroles with cheese and hope they pass the test.

Noon: Gather around the table and GIVE THANKS to God. Dinner is served!

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 NIV

It’s a good thing Thanksgiving isn’t just about the food, because I am so much better about showing gratitude! I can’t give great advice in the kitchen, but I can definitely cook up some creative ways to be generous with our thanks. Here are a few new and different ideas on how to make the most of Turkey Day.

Create a thankful cloth for your table.

Buy a white tablecloth and permanent marking pens. Each year, invite guests to write one thing they are thankful for on it. Pass down the keepsake to another family member when the time is right.

Operation Appreciation.

Make it your November mission to look for opportunities to say “thank you.” Take notice of things your family does that frequently go overlooked. Pay close attention to those around you who are serving in one way or another and tell them thanks for doing a great job. If you see someone in uniform (police, fire, military personnel, etc.), tell them how much you appreciate their service. Express your gratitude to someone in the workplace whose hard work normally goes unnoticed. For more ideas, check out our Thank You Section to find faith-filled gifts and cards to express your gratitude.

Send thank you notes, just because.

Think about the people God has placed in your life and the blessing they are just by being themselves! Surprise them with a heartfelt cardnote, or email them a quick thank-you Ecard to let them know how much they mean to you. 

Make a family gratitude chain.

Cut fall patterned paper into 1”x 7” strips of paper. As guests arrive, give them each three pieces and ask them to write one thing they are thankful for on the blank sides. After dinner, share with one another what you wrote. Give the kids a stapler and let them create a paper chain from the strips. Add on to it year after year, and use it to decorate your home or a fall tree!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.

Honor the One who has given us all we have by reading His Word together. Set a place card at each seat with a Scripture reference on it, or hide written verses under each plate. Take turns reading them aloud before you clear the table. Have the host close your time in prayer before the post-meal naps begin!

As a country, we’ve set aside this special day of thanks for nearly 400 years, and part of what makes Thanksgiving so great is that it is rich with tradition. This year, as you look forward to what’s always been, plan to add in something special that has never been. How will you make the most of Turkey Day?

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 ESV

Looking for more turkey-day inspiration? Check out these related articles:

In Everything Give Thanks

When It’s Hard to Be Grateful on Thanksgiving

Finding Peace in the Face of Family Stress

How will you make the most of your Turkey Day?
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